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recommendations needed in Fayetteville, NC area?

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My husband and I are coming for a visit to Hope Mills in April. We're from New England, so we'd really like to eat some North Carolina barbecue. Where should we go in the Fayetteville area? Also, what are the best places to eat in the area--any kind of food? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. How far are you willing to travel? There isn't a barbecue place with a decent reputation in Fayetteville.

    You could get to Grady's in Dudley or Wilber's in Goldsboro in a little over an hour. Of those two, I would go with Grady's. It's closer to Fayetteville, and has better barbecue and sides. IIRC Grady's is open Wed-Sat, and Wilber's is open 7 days a week.

    Alternatively, you could detour off I-95. Blackbeard's is in Conetoe, NC about a half hour from 95 and is really good, and has excellent sides. This is my regular haunt. They're open Thurs-Sat, and on Sunday from 11am-3pm. You could get to Cobb's in Farmville in about a half hour from 95 as well. They keep weird hours, though. IIRC they're open on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday only, until about 5pm. Cobb's is good stuff, but doesn't have any seating. I'd pick Blackbeard's out of these two.

    All of these places cook with wood, which is the key to a great eastern NC barbecue. Most places cook with gas or electric cookers these days, which produces a less flavorful barbecue. It can be okay, but I have never had a really great example. If you aren't willing to drive a bit to go to one of the places that cook with wood, you can really take your pick of the gas/electric places. They're pretty undifferentiated.

    I haven't been to Fayetteville itself in a few years, but the main thing that stuck out other than the usual chains and bars(which there are a lot of) was a fair few Korean and Vietnamese restaurants. New Korea House has gotten a good mention or two on here before. There aren't any regular posters in southeastern NC though, so it's largely terra incognita.

    If you make the trek to Grady's or otherwise get out and about in rural southeastern NC, you will notice a lot of taquerias and fondas catering to the Mexican/Central American immigrant population. One of my favorites is just down the road from Grady's, there's a thread here:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/641883

    Here's a blog entry about a place in Four Oaks(right on 95) that does consomé de borrego:

    http://www.ncfolk.org/ncfood/consomed...

    For my money, a one hour drive on a Saturday to eat barbecue at Grady's, combined with getting some soups and stews to go from La Cuata, would be an excellent way to spend a half day.

    1. Naco is so correct. I worked for 6 months in Fayetteville and the best place I found was Thai-Esan in Spring Lake:

      http://www.thaiesanrestaurant.com/

      You will be surrounded by your Military Service Members. The owners are really nice and accommodating.